With fall and winter approaching, it’s time to turn off your air conditioner and close it down for the season. This can help keep your AC in working order so it’s ready for you to run at the start of spring. Here are some steps you can take and how our experienced HVAC contractors can help.
First, turn the power to your air conditioner off at the breaker. If you want to just shut off the AC switch instead, you can, but it could get accidentally turned back on at some point during the winter.
This is because it looks like a normal light switch and is just located in an odd space like in your basement or attic. Shutting it off at the breaker makes sure that the unit stays off until you’re ready to turn it back on.
Many people wait to change the air filter until the start of the season, but you really don’t want to let a dirty filter sit in your unit the entire time. It can start to mold, mildew, and collect bacteria that spreads throughout your system. You can change the filter later, but chances are mold spores and microbes have already moved to other parts that can’t be cleaned as easily. Instead, change your filter now, so your system isn’t sitting with dirt and grime for months on end.
Once the power to your condenser is off, you can wash dirt and debris out from in between the metal “fins” with a hose. This is important if leaves have already started to collect around the base or the sides of the unit. Leaf litter makes a great home for pests and wild animals, which are already attracted to your home during the winter as they search for warm shelter.
You can use a vacuum with a brush attachment before washing to get the tiniest bits of dirt out and a coil cleaning solution to break up stubborn grime. Then, let the unit dry completely before moving onto the next step.
You’ll want to cover your air conditioning unit with either a tarp or a specially made cover that fits over the unit and zips up to protect it from leaves, snow, and ice. Again, it should be dry before this step, or you risk creating an even worse mold and mildew situation. If you’re using a tarp, it should be tight and held together with waterproof tape.
Finally, it’s time to switch your thermostat over to the “heat” setting and adjust it to your preferred winter temperature. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the best setting for your thermostat during the heating season is 68 to 70 degrees.
Above 70 and your heating system has to work a lot harder, especially when it gets colder. And you won’t see much benefit from it – your house may only get marginally warmer, while your electric bills get significantly higher. If you haven’t invested in a programmable thermostat, now is a good time to help you save energy and costs throughout the season.
With climate change creating strange, never-before-seen weather events, there are more seasonal temperature fluctuations. It may get cold, hot, cold, and hot again before finally settling down to the cooler fall temperatures. This means you’ll probably need to switch back and forth between heating and cooling, which can put stress on your system.
Keep an eye on the weather predictions in your area and wait for the first 10 days that you don’t have to use your AC before putting on the cover. This reduces the chances that you’ll have to take it back off to run your AC if a warm front comes through.
If you need help winterizing your air conditioning system for the upcoming heating season, the expert NATE-certified HVAC technicians at Jones Services can assist you. We can come to your home and clean your unit, change the filter, and get it covered and shut down, so you can go about your day. You can be confident that your AC will be clean, dry, and ready to go when spring arrives.
Contact us today to learn more or to get answers to your winter heating questions by dialing (845) 299-2234. We can’t wait to hear from you!